Thursday, July 20, 2017

Brake upgrade, Carbon Fiber Driveshaft, and Oil Pickup replacement - 2012 Subaru WRX

We had a good clients' Subaru Impreza WRX hatch in for a round of upgrades including a full brake upgrade, PST Carbon Fiber Driveshaft, and Killer B Oiling components! Read on to see why some of these items can potentially save your EJ engine from catastrophic failure!








The brake upgrades included DBA slotted rotors, Hawk street pads, Stoptech stainless steel lines, and a fresh brake fluid bleed with ATE performance fluid. This combo will drastically improve the OEM braking system performance and feel, without the need for a BBK. The rotors and pads will work to give better braking feel and performance. Higher temp rated pads will perform better when hot, and will not fade as fast as the OEM pads will. The slotted rotor faces help to wipe away any water or debris, as well as aid with off-gassing of pads. Pads should be chosen based on how the car will be used most of the time.  A car that will be used 90% of the time on the street, and 10% track or autocross, should get street oriented pads, and vice-versa. This ensures your brakes are working in their optimal range. 



The stainless steel lines will improve brake pedal feel and get rid of the "sponginess" in the stock system. Stock rubber lines tend to bulge when used under hard braking, and this will cause the brake pedal to feel spongy and provide inconsistent feedback. The Stainless braided line will not bulge or deform like the rubber lines will, so they provide more consistent feedback, which in turn provides more confidence when braking. The ATE brake fluid we use has a higher threshold for heat, which helps resists brake fade under repeated aggressive stops. OEM fluid is used for longevity between brake fluid changes, but it has a low boiling point.  When you used under hard braking the fluid can literally boil off and/or the water that has been absorbed will boil off, introducing gas into the system.  This gas will give way to a very soft pedal, and under extreme circumstances will make it so you have no pedal at all, and no brakes......No brakes are bad. Remember, In a brake system every component does something important, so when you improve each component, it can add up to a great upgrade for any car.
 Old tired brakes on top, brand new setup on bottom


 Rear brakes


This round of mods included an upgraded Killer B Motorsport oil pickup and baffle. The stock EJ25 pickup tube is brazed together and is known to fail at the upper flange-tube interface and crack. This causes the tube/pump to suck in air instead of oil, which causes oil pressure to plummet, run the system dry, and will kill an engine. The new KB pickup is welded, thicker tubing, and has more support structure, so it will not crack from engine vibrations like the OEM version. The KB baffle is a more performance oriented design which helps to "grab" excess oil off the crank as it rotates. Any extra oil that is clinging to the crank makes it effectively heavier, causing drag and soaking up energy/horsepower.  Shedding this extra oil in turn frees up horsepower that can be directed to the wheels (instead of turning an oil laden crank). The OEM oil pan had been dented at some point in it's life, this isn't good because it drastically shortens the distance between the bottom of the pan and the oil pickups suction point.  A dented pan cause cause oil starvation because it can literally close up the suction hold on the pickup.  We erred on the side of safety and replaced the pan with a new OEM STI pan. While we were in the engine bay we installed a set of Cusco hardened mounts, which will help keep the engine and drive-line locked in place under acceleration and give more direct acceleration.  Done!

 Oil pickup out, oil pan mounting surface cleaned.
 OEM pickup and baffle, very basic design and manufacture.
 New Killer B Ultimate pickup and Sport baffle installed
New oil pan installed with gasket and drain plug, ready to go!


Finally, we removed the factory driveshaft to replace it with an upgraded one-piece carbon fiber unit. The PST CF driveshaft replaces the 2 piece OEM style unit and center carrier bearing, which weigh a lot. The CF driveshaft  is a one piece bonded carbon fiber shaft, which is much more simple than the stock unit and saves almost 18 pounds of rotational mass! Any time you can shed rotational weight you are freeing up more horsepower that can be used to turn the wheels! The Carbon piece is also safer in the respect that if a carbon driveshaft fails, it will generally come apart like a big broom, with the strands coming undone. A steel unit, like the OEM piece can break into 2 pieces and be flung around causing massive damage to the vehicle.  A carbon shaft sheds weight from the drivetrain and is a safer choice, so it is a Win-Win for most cars!  We replaced the mounting hardware that comes with the shaft with our own specced Grade 12 hardware to ensure there are no issues. Proper mounting hardware on something as important as a driveshaft can literally make or break that part/install, so it;s always good to scrutinize what comes with a kit or what came off the car.  We pay attention to details like this on installs to save our clients headaches down the road.

 New carbon shaft in place
 Upgraded hardware and lock washers provided by us


Overall these upgrades have completely transformed this WRX.  It now stops with much more confidence than before, it feels stronger through the rev range with the CF shaft, and the peace of mind of knowing the oiling system will be working correctly for years to come add up to a much more pleasurable driving experience.  If you're looking for performance upgrades, fabrication, tuning, or engine build services, please contact us for a consultation!



-Circuit Motorsports is a performance tuning shop located in Orlando, FL.  We have a professional tuner on staff who is a certified Ecutek Master Tuner and a Cobb Protuner. Our shop specializes in import performance cars from Subaru, Nissan, Mitsubishi and more.

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